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ESPN: Syracuse Football Has ACC's Eighth-Toughest Future Non-Conference Schedule

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Maybe we're moving toward where we should be?

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse football usually schedules too tough. Or not far out enough. Or both. You know this. But perhaps the program is turning the corner on both?

On Monday, ESPN put together a list of the toughest non-conference schedules in the ACC, taking into account the percentage of games the average FBS team would lose against the same slate. All of it is based on what's currently confirmed for each team over the course of the next five years. The Orange finished eighth, with the average FBS team expected to lose 39.1 percent of the games currently scheduled -- including four FCS teams, 10 non-power teams and six power five teams.

Syacuse Strength of Schedule

Some questions regarding the above, like: What the hell does ESPN know about SU's future schedules that we don't? The chart above would say that four FCS games are confirmed, yet there's only three known at the moment (Rhode Island in 2015, Colgate in 2016 and Holy Cross in 2019). While 10 "group of five" games are listed above, we only know of four set in stone, so where the hell are the other six coming from? And just five Power Five games -- not six -- have been announced in the time period, so where's that extra one coming from?

UPDATE: David Hale clarifies

Moving away from those questions (which again, I'd like answers to), you can see that the Orange are on their way to smarter scheduling, even if they're not fully there yet. For which programs have done the best job setting themselves up for higher (read: inflated) win totals, look no further than NC State's typically deplorable scheduling, along with a surprising entry from Boston College:

NCSU BC Strength of Schedule

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Take from all of that what you will. If you were curious about Rutgers' non-conference scheduling, it's currently ranked 54th in the power conferences (and third-to-last in the B1G), because "of course." Despite the strides it's looking like the Orange are making, we still might want to lean that way for a few years.

But seriously... somebody tell me what the hell is going on with these extra matchups we know nothing about!

Clarified! See above.